As part of my month of blogging in June, I thought it might be fun to share a little more on the blogging side of things. I’ve got some other posts planned about working with brands, blogger trips and tips but please feel free to leave requests for topics or questions in the comments below.
If you’ve been following my blog and instgram for longer than 6 months you’ll have noticed that I’ve credited a few of the pics to people that are not my Mum. Before January, almost all of my photos were taken by my Mum, friends or by propping up my phone (except for some shoots that I did in NYC).
In the first week of January, on a rather wet, cold day, I had my first ‘photoshoot’, with Will Patrick, a friend of a friend and budding photographer. I was nervous, awkward and not entirely sure of the style of photos that I wanted.
I had a couple of outfits that I wanted photos of, including one from Icebreaker for review. I loved the pics (OK, I edited out a lot of photos where I look incredibly awkward). I posted them on my Instagram and blog and got a great response, so I arranged another shoot for some collaboration blog posts.
I had about 5K instagram followers in October before my first shoots with some NYC photographers, by Jan I was on 10K and noticing an increase in followers and engagement especially on the better quality photos.
I was also getting more interest from brands for Instagram posts and blog collaborations, including my current partnership with New Balance. The photos are better than the ones that I could take of myself, and I don’t feel as embarrassed as I do asking friends and strangers to take the pics. My Mum is a great photographer, but definitely more of a hobby photographer than professional (sadly Tom’s skills and patience are limited when it comes to blog photography).
Working with photographers is not cheap. I believe that photographers deserve to be paid (some charge a lot, some charge a little, some that are just starting may also work in exchange for exposure), so would wait until I had a commission for a sponsored post to pay for the photos.
I was lucky enough to work with Lorraine at C More Photography on an mutual promotion basis as one of her first blogger shoots. We shot in South London, around Oval, in the local park, coffee shop and high street to capture images to go with some blog posts I had planned about studying. I love how the pictures turned out – they are very different to my usual running action shots, and I got to wear a dress for once (although I still wore trainers, obvs).
These photos made me realise I’d love to work more with photographers for designated posts that aren’t necessarily just running or kit focused.
I’m careful to include a mixture of professional shots, my photos and iPhone photography on my instagram – partly because it’s a necessity when you don’t have a live-in photographer following you round all day (Rosie Londoner, I live in awe) and partly because my Instagram is real. It is not overly preened selfies, or completely staged shoots, it is real workouts, run selfies and post-race medal shots. It is not overly curated, there isn’t one filter throughout or colour combination – although I know these apparently are key to a massive Instagram following. My favourite Instagrammers take pics when they can, showcasing their life, workouts, kit etc.
The reason I do work with photographers then, if I love this ‘real life’ instagram, is because of the quality of the images, especially when showcasing kit. In particular I think the images really make a difference on my blog. I read a lot of blogs, and the non-fitness ones that I come back to time and again are the ones with awesome imagery.
I read fashion and beauty blogs that have incredible pics, something that you only see in a handful of fitness/running blogs. Faya at Fitness on Toast kills it – helped by the fact that her husband is amazing behind the camera, as does Carly Rowena and Cat Meffan.
I’m pretty terrible on Pinterest, something that I’m keen to work on. Images are paramount on Pinterest, and having impressive pictures to pin will make your blog more shareable and increase readership. I’ve just started using a new programme to help improve my Pinterest although I’m yet to see a huge gain in followers or readers from it!
I certainly can’t afford to work with a professional on the regular, although I know a lot of US bloggers than only have photos taken by professionals. For now, a decent camera, and a willing friend will mostly have to do, with the odd professional shoot thrown in there!
If you’re a blogger thinking about working with a professional, I’d highly recommend doing your research into the style of pics you want, rate, number of images, number of locations and outfits before signing up. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions or Lorraine is very willing to hear from you if you want to book a shoot with her – contact her here.
P.S apologies for the lack of post yesterday (I’ve failed on day 8 of everyday June, a day of travel and very delayed flight meant I couldn’t post!) so there will be two today!!